How Outcome-Based Design Is Changing The AEC Landscape

Architects, engineers, and other professionals in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry take great pride in their creations. Their innovative designs bring visions of structures and spaces to life, such as an intricate window placement to project natural light through a particular area, or the placement of a skyscraper nestled in an urban city center .

But how do these professionals determine the optimal solution they want to design? There are many variables and parameters that can affect the outcome – how can an engineer or architect take them all into consideration?

Outcome-based design is a new approach to the AEC landscape, with architects, designers, and engineers working together to create optimal outcomes for the benefit of clients, contractors, manufacturers, and other stakeholders. 

What Is Outcome-Based Design?

Designing and constructing a successful project in the built environment from inception to completion involves upholding many regulations, standards, and building rating systems. Outcome-based design is a systematic process to identify, design, and construct desired projects – starting with the desired outcome. 

Whether it’s energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, or aesthetic performance, this design process ensures that the outcome is met with measurable metrics from start to finish. 

How Does Outcome-Based Design Work?

An outcome-based design doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that requires collaboration and communication among many different stakeholders early in the project planning stages. This is how outcome-based design works:

1. Create a Set Of Desired Outcomes

First, this design process starts with creating a set of desired outcomes that are achievable and optimal for all stakeholders. The outcome should be measurable, such as reducing energy consumption or increasing efficiency.

2. Work With All The Stakeholders To Identify Profitable Outcomes

Once you have identified the set of desired outcomes, the next step is to filter and identify the outcome which meets your long-term goals. Relevant parties (design engineers, asset owners, vendors, etc.) should also deliberate on the necessary steps that should be taken to achieve this optimal outcome.

3. Implement a Simple Version Of The Outcomes

Once the outcome is identified and agreed upon by all stakeholders, it’s time for implementation. The outcome-based design process is about trial and error, so it’s best to start off with a simpler version of the outcome before moving on to more complex implementations. For instance, with the Transcend Design Generator, Stanley Consultants were able to quickly generate preliminary conceptual designs for establishing appropriate sizing of wastewater treatment basins, hence saving all parties time and money in the early phases of the wastewater treatment plant project. 

4. Test Outcomes Based On Measurable Metrics

After this design process is implemented, it’s time to test it against measurable metrics. This could mean assessing if energy consumption is reduced or if the outcome is within the desired outcome requirements. If not, necessary adjustments should be made.

5. Improve The Implementation Of The Outcome

As an iterative process, outcome-based designs are constantly being improved upon. Due to this, your implementation process should become more efficient with each iteration. For instance, you can utilize different project management processes such as Agile frameworks to develop, test, and execute design solutions more quickly.

Outcome-Based Design Is Changing the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Landscape

The outcome-based design process is changing the landscape of the AEC industry by creating more innovative, cost-effective designs early on in project phases. By focusing on the outcome, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders can create projects that meet the needs of all stakeholders and achieve the optimal outcome for everyone involved from the very beginning of the project, rather than the end.

The Client, Contractor, Manufacturer, and Stakeholders Are Integrated Into The Process

The outcome-based design process also creates more collaboration and communication between all stakeholders. Each stakeholder has a say in the outcome of the project from the very beginning, which helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same outcome. Plus, since they come from varying backgrounds,  they each bring unique perspectives and insights to the design process. From project planning to construction, to design reviews and implementation – outcome-based design provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to be involved in the project.

Everything Is Measurable

With an outcome-based design, all metrics are measurable. This means that the design teams can track and monitor the outcome of their projects in real time. Using metrics that are previously established and agreed upon by the stakeholders, the design teams can quickly identify any problems or issues that may arise throughout the process.

By taking this approach, you can have optimal control of the project, as well as more accurate predictions of the outcome. This also helps to ensure that the outcome is optimal for all stakeholders and meets their desired outcome.

Low Cost Of Design

Since the design teams can track and monitor outcomes in real time, they can make adjustments quickly and efficiently. There are countless cycles and iterations required in traditional design processes,  but the designs can be optimized and sped up significantly.

The outcome-based design process also helps to reduce the cost of design, as teams can identify potential problems early on and make adjustments before it’s too late. This helps to reduce the amount of time and money spent on projects, resulting in a more efficient outcome.

More Satisfied Stakeholders

The outcome-based design process also helps to create more satisfied stakeholders. Involving all stakeholders in the design process ensures that everyone’s needs are being met and that everyone is working towards a common outcome.

It also helps to create more trust between the stakeholders, as they each have a role in the design process and can trust that their opinions are being heard. Plus, using an established metric system helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can easily track the outcome of the project. This helps to create more successful projects, as all stakeholders are working together to achieve the outcome.

Best Outcome-Based Design Software

Outcome-based design is revolutionizing the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

By focusing on the outcome, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders can create projects that meet the needs of all stakeholders and are optimal for everyone involved. The design process also helps to create more collaboration and communication between all stakeholders, as well as a low cost of design and more satisfied stakeholders.

Overall, outcome-based design is transforming the AEC landscape and creating projects that are faster, more efficient, and more profitable for everyone involved.

Leverage the perks of outcome-based designs for water, wastewater, and power infrastructure with the Transcend Design Generator and create successful projects in a short amount of time that achieve the outcomes you’re looking for..

Try Your Free Demo Today!


Technology Providers & OEMs Technology Providers & OEMs

TDG rapidly generates accurate budgetary proposals to help suppliers bid more, win more, and sell more.

Asset Owners and Utilities Asset Owners and Utilities

TDG streamlines the capital planning and conceptual design processes to accelerate project timelines and deliver better outcomes.

EPCs, AECs, and Consultants EPCs, AECs, and Consultants

TDG enables engineering firms to deliver more value to their clients & increase competitiveness.

Individuals Individuals

TDG works for individual engineers who want to grow their business and reduce their non-billable time.

Academic Academic

Transcend supports students and professors around the world to incorporate TDG into their curriculum.


Articles Articles

Read posts written by Transcend team members sharing their points of view on the company mission, vision, and products.

Webinars Webinars

Watch on-demand webinars like Transcend’s popular ‘How To’ series.

Case studies Case studies

Understand how Transcend’s customers are utilizing TDG to bring more value to their customers and grow their businesses.


View a list of the questions we are most frequently asked about our company and our software

Transcend tools Transcend tools

Access a number of tools Transcend has developed to help engineers and industry professionals take back their time.

Security Security

Learn more about Transcend’s security practices


Water and Wastewater Water and Wastewater

TDG creates unique, optimized designs of water & wastewater treatment facilities by automatically combining decisions and calculations from each engineering field.

Power Power

TDG creates unique, optimized designs of T&D assets by automatically combining decisions and calculations from each engineering discipline.